Wednesday, March 9, 2011

N.O. spells NO

A month or so ago I was asked by an acquaintance if I would be interested in spear-heading a community service project.  I told her to give me a couple of days to think about it.  As soon as I hung up the phone, I just wasn't 'feeling it'.  I very carefully weighed the pros and cons.  I thought about other responsibilities I currently have, and those responsibilities that I might have in a few months when the time for the service project came.  I thought of this. I thought of that.  I prayed and I talked with my husband, but mostly I just thought about it.

Sooner than I had promised her, I called her back.  With confidence and security in my decision, I thanked her for considering me for the position, and then told her I was choosing not to accept the task.  I hung up the phone with absolutely no feelings of guilt. I knew I had made the right decision for me (and my family).

Last night I had a similar discussion with Megan, my twelve year old...

We are not too involved in extra-curricular activities around here.  Mike and I both have very strong feelings about this.  Our family finances, dinner-times, and children having time to play creatively are of up-most importance to us.

And yet still, even with our 'non-over-scheduled-schedule' I had to have a 'being able to say no' discussion with my twelve year old.  And it had nothing to do with the 'Just Say No' drug campaign! ;)

By the time Megan gets home from school each day it is almost 4:00pm.  Of course there is homework (don't EVEN get me started on my homework opinions), then there is any research that might need to be done for upcoming reports, reviewing spelling test lists, or science fair projects, and of course fit in thirty minutes of the required a night reading.  That's just school.

Let's throw in a chore or two, some musical practice (thank heavens she practices some in the morning), dinner with the family (non-negotiable around here), and some personal or friend time.

Okay, we haven't even mentioned time to work on her personal progress (an LDS teenage girl program), or the assignment to work on for a stake youth fireside, or the district spelling bee she qualified for, that happens to fall on the same night as an honors meeting for next year's junior high students. And that still isn't all of it, but you get the idea.

I know, I know, it is all about Good, Better, Best.  But what do you say no to?  Church meetings? School projects? Family time?

We hear so much about PARENT'S over-scheduling their kids now days, but it isn't just the parents to blame.  It comes from school; example, regular homework assignments the same week as science fair projects.  church; example, young women sports nights as well as a regular young women activity in the same week.  (Incidentally, my friend's stake DOES NOT allow two youth activities in one week.  If they're going to the temple for baptisms, no mutual.  If it is youth sports, no mutual.... I LIKE THAT!)

And I KNOW, KNOW, KNOW, ultimately it all comes down to the choice of our little family.  But really, what part do you really cut out? Education? Religion?

On Sunday night, Megan and I talked about what she has to do this week. And it really isn't an out of the ordinary week.   I asked how she felt about what she had to do.  Then I gave her the option of eliminating any of the items from her week.  I let her make her decision.  I kept quiet. (please don't act surprised, i do have some parenting skills).  Megan chose to eliminate the district spelling bee.

And though I sent the email to the Spelling Bee in-charge-teacher, with slight trepidation for how the teacher may respond, far outweighing the slight trepidation, were two other things.  The confidence, that it is the right decision for Megan.  And the satisfaction, that hopefully, saying no sometimes, will be a positive lesson learned for Megan.

You can't do it all.
A very valuable lesson to learn.


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